Although the Beast has lots of ideas, they rarely involve thoughts on what we should have for dinner. But the other night, all on his own, he proclaimed that we would be having burrata. More astonishing was that he was actually paying for and bringing home said burrata. (The shop where he works has an Alex Farm cheese store a stone throw’s away and they advertise when the precious cheese arrives from Italy.) All I had to do was prepare some fresh tomatoes, bruschetta style, and get some baguette ready to be grilled.
Since the Beast was practically making dinner, I decided to visit a favourite vintage shop of mine that’s just around the corner. Good thing too because I found a beautiful leather Fendi bag for $20.
The Beast and I arrived home at the same time, he bearing his ball of burrata and me with my new Fendi.
Foodie: Fancy meeting you here!
Beast: What’s that you have there?
Foodie: Oh this old thing? Just a bag I bought around the corner.
The Beast snatched it from me and examined the interior in order to properly authenticate it.
Beast: I love it! It’s going to be perfect for me, don’t you think?
Foodie: You’re joking, right?
Beast: No, not at all? It’s the perfect size for me: I can fit my iPod in there, a book or magazine and some drum sticks.
Foodie: Well that’s fine and dandy, but I don’t think this is an appropriate man bag.
Beast: I think it’s more than perfect. I actually think it was designed for a man, not a woman.
Foodie: You’re fucking crazy. That’s a woman’s bag.
Beast: Well anyway, I love it. So thank you.
Dumbfounded, I turned my attention to disrobing the ball of burrata from it’s plastic sheath.
Burrata is traditionally made of mozzarella di bufala, which is mozzarella made with the milk of a water buffalo so it’s fattier, creamier and tastier than mozzarella made with plain old cow’s milk, which is called fior di latte. What makes burrata extraordinary is its centre: a combination of both mozzarella di bufala and actual cream. Take a moment to imagine cutting into something like this and you’ll appreciate why those southern Italians called this cheese “burrata”,considering burro means butter.
The panna, or cream, drizzles ever so gently out, just begging to be mopped up with a hunk of bread. And the flesh of the firmer mozzarella is so damn silky. It’s an overwhelming–and slightly sensual–combination of textures.
Alex Farm sells one ball for $36. (The Beast, with his neighbourhood discount got our burrata for a steal at only $31.50.) I’ve seen burrata for $40 a ball too. Stephen asked why burrata is so expensive. It’s a good question. And I’m not sure I have a satisfying answer. I think it has to do with burrata’s limited shelf-life, which is about 48 hours. That means once it’s flown to Canada, buyers have about 24 hours to sell it to consumers, like the Beast, before it’s really past its prime. Maybe our Italian friend, Giovanna, will have something to add to this discussion.
Foodie: This is really, really lovely.
Beast: Oh God.
Foodie: You really like burrata, don’t you.
Foodie: I like it, but I think you like it more. And I don’t think I could possibly eat more than a few pieces of it. It’s so rich! I’d make myself sick I think.
The Beast was not capable of leaving any burrata uneaten so he ate, oh I’d say…about 75 per cent of that chubby ball. I ate a lot of bread and tomatoes. He was in pain about an hour after dinner. I was not.
I can’t be certain if he’s serious or not about using the Fendi bag. More importantly, I can’t decide how concerned I should be if he is.